Do Cohabiting Couples Have the Same Rights as Divorcing Married Couples?

Rather than getting legally married, you and your partner decided to cohabitate in the same residence for an extended period of time. Eventually, you and your partner decided to start a family and have children, but still chose to not legally get married. Then, the unfortunate happens and you or your partner decides to terminate the relationship and separate. At this point, there can be all sorts of feelings and emotions you may experience, ranging from hurt to anger. You may have questions in regards to your future, the future of your children, where you will live, and how property you acquired together as a couple is to be divided. Your ex-partner will most likely have their own ideas about their future, which you do not fully agree with, like whoever paid for the property gets the property.   While cohabiting can have its benefits when couples first start out together, it can also have its drawbacks when things do not work out after being together for a long period of time. In many cases, if there are not any minor children involved, you may have limited options. However, it is worth your time to discuss your situation with a qualified and experienced Toronto divorce lawyer first, before making any decisions. In recent years, courts have considered the division of property of cohabiting couples in specific instances, like if the couple has a cohabitation agreement in place. Further, if you were together for most of your lives, you may have certain legal rights that would determine how property is to be divided, such as you jointly purchased a home together.   In regards to minor children and cohabiting couples, the courts tend to adhere to similar practices like a divorcing, legally married couple. There are specific guidelines used to establish child support payments, visitation schedules, and access to and custody of the minor children.   Just because you and your partner have decided to call it quits does not excuse your from your parental responsibilities. The family court’s primary concern is what will be in the best interest of the minor children and provide them the most stability now that their parents have decided to end their relationship. Further, both parents are expected to contribute equally towards the rearing and financial support of their minor children.   At Kain & Ball, our Toronto family lawyers understand the pain and difficulties that can come with the end of long-term cohabiting living arrangement. We are here to help answer your questions in regards to division of property and issues concerning your minor children.   Please remember the above content is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as actual legal advice. For actual legal advice for separating cohabiting couples and to find out your legal rights, call 647-499-4888 today to arrange a consultation appointment with Kain & Ball Family Law Lawyers in Toronto.
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